For the last of our 2023 Christmas gifts, we delivered a powder room transformation for my in-laws! This small half bath was simple with a pedestal sink and a cabinet over the toilet. There was nothing wrong with it, but powder rooms are a great place to be bold and get creative with the design.
If you’re just looking for links, sources, and colors they are available at the end of this post 🙂
Before we dive into the reveal, let’s first take a peek at the before photos:
P.S .check out our other 2023 Christmas gift projects:
The first step for this powder room transformation was getting all of the measurements and dimensions.
For reference, the wall that the vanity “floats” on was 35″ wide. The window though was the challenge to work around. There was only about 17.75″ to the window, which meant that the vanity couldn’t be too deep. And when the drawers opened, we had to make sure they were in enough to not hit the window trim, which meant no wall-to-wall design.
Since we weren’t building the vanity onsite, we also needed to know the exact location of all of the plumbing and fixtures so that we could build the drawer boxes to fit around everything.
Once we got the measurements and made the plan for the vanity in SketchUp, it was time to start building!
I guess the hall tree drawer fronts were technically chevron, not herringbone, but I digress…
Next up were some floating shelves. We were able to build the shelves themselves at our house, but decided to wait on assembling the shelf supports because we had forgotten to get the measurements of the studs.
We learned from my mom’s laundry room shelf that we should wait to install the shelf supports until after we know the stud locations. The shelf supports don’t have to be spaced in a precise way, but we do want to make sure that we can hit all the studs that we can!
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We started by removing everything (aside from the toilet base) and patching any areas on the wall that needed to be patched. I tried out the DAP Eclipse drywall patches with high hopes…and hated them.
They look amazing from some angles, but if any light hits the patches, you can see the weird outline of them. I was really looking forward to sharing how game changing they were, but I think we might have to stick with spackle going forward.
We then painted the room with 3 coats of Sherwin Williams Duration paint in Pewter Green. You should only need two coats, but I realized I had missed a small area on the second coat, and opted to paint the whole thing again to ensure we had super solid coverage.
We painted not only the walls, but also the ceiling! I know it sounds scary to paint a ceiling in general, but especially with a dark color in a very small room, but trust me when I say that it does make the room feel bigger!
Next up was wallpaper, but it really should’ve been figuring out how to install the sink…I’ll get to that in a moment.
It was a peel and stick wallpaper, so no paste was needed. The main learnings to share are:
- Draw a level line to follow rather than lining up with your ceiling or the side of your wall
- Get the cheap little wallpaper installation kit that’s next to the peel and stick wallpaper. It’ll make things much easier!
- Peel off the back of the paper evenly as you go down. Don’t peel one side, smooth things, then try to peel the other side.
- If you have any bubbles that you just can’t get out, take a blade and make a small cut in the bubble to pop it. Then smooth it out.
- If you don’t need need your piece to be the whole width of the wallpaper, cut it down to an approximate size beforehand to make it easier to manage.
- I found that smoothing down first, then out to the sides was the most effective.
- If you need to cut around an item, cut as minimally a possible first. Cut slips rather than trying cut out big circles. You can always trim it up at the end, but the slits will give you enough leeway to smooth things out.
After the wallpaper went up, the floating shelves were next. We had to drill at an angle to hit one of the studs, so we added the last shelf support boards after installing the rest to the wall.
Next was the vanity install and this is where things got a little dicey. We went to mark the studs and realized that the vanity would only hit one stud: problem #1.
Then we opened up the sink to read the installation instructions and realized that it’s recommended for solid masonry walls: problem #2.
Between these two things, our only option was to open up the wall. Unfortunately, we had already wallpapered. Fortunately, their powder room shared a wall with the garage, so we were able to open it up on the other side.
As we opened it up, we were very much reminded that any time you are putting things into walls, you need to be very cautious. We opened it up to find multiple plumbing lines and electrical wires that were extremely close to the studs.
Had we tried to use drywall anchors or missed a stud when trying to install something, we very much might have hit electrical or plumbing and had a whole other mess on our hands. So remember, be careful with walls people!! This is just one of the many reasons why DIY furniture is our favorite kind of DIY.
We ended up adding some additional 2x4s together until we had them positioned where we could securely install the sink top. It requires a very specific distance between the two holes that hold it up, and that distance does not match normal stud spacing. So if we decide to use the exact sink we did, we warned that you might need to open up the wall to add some additional supports!
Once we figured out the stud situation, we carefully installed the sink using the provided hanger bolts. When we went to install the floating vanity bottom, we ran into another problem.
The sink was tilting forward too much. It looked fine and was installed properly, but this sink was technically designed to just be a floating sink with no vanity underneath it. We needed the sink to be level in order for the vanity to properly fit underneath it.
So, we added some felt pads to the bottom of the sink to kick it out. We chose felt because we didn’t want to put too much pressure on the porcelain sink and risk cracking it. This (surprisingly) worked like a charm!
The sink was leveled and we were able to get the vanity base installed underneath! The vanity installation was smooth sailing until we went to install the faucet.
We did amazing on the measurements and the drawers fit around the plumbing flawlessly (yay!), but we realized that our sink choice caused another issue. The drain that came with our faucet was for an overflow sink, but ours didn’t have an overflow, so to Amazon we went. We had to order a non-overflow drain plug to replace it.
After troubleshooting that, we installed the new mirror, toilet paper holder, and towel ring.
Then we gave the existing light an upgrade by spray painting it and swapping out the glass that surrounded the lightbulbs.
And with just a few bumps in the road, we transformed this simple powder room into magazine-worthy space! And honestly all of the problems stemmed from the super heavy sink that we chose. Had we chosen a lighter vessel sink option instead, much of our headaches might have been avoided!
But between the dark color, the painted ceiling, and the floating vanity, this small powder room now feels so much larger and so much more luxurious.
If this post inspired you to transform your powder room, check out the tutorials and links to our project supply down below:
Powder Room Tutorials:
- DIY floating vanity with drawers
- DIY floating shelves (I guess “floating could’ve been the theme of this room)
You might also find these skills tutorials helpful:
- How to cut plywood with a circular saw
- How to apply edge banding so that it lasts
- How to build and install drawers
- How to stain wood like a pro
Colors + Finishes:
- Walls: Sherwin Williams Pewter Green in Satin (we used the Duration line)
- Shelves + Floating Vanity: Minwax Mocha stain, 2 coats of Helmsman Spar Urethane in Satin
- Wallpaper Accent Wall: Allen + Roth Green Vinyl Texture Peel and Stick Wallpaper
Powder Room Links:
- Grasscloth Wallpaper
- Drain Plug for Non-Overflow Sink
- Toilet Paper Holder
- Towel Ring
- Glass for Light Fixture Makeover
- Krylon Metallic Gold Leaf Spray Paint
- (2) Drawer Pulls for Bathroom Vanity
- Relax HD Light Bulbs
- Clear Construction Adhesive to Attach Sink
- Clear Caulk for Behind Sink
- 3” Wood Screws
- Delicate Surface Painter’s Tape
- Painter’s Tape
- Pre-Taped Plastic Tarp
- Purdy Jumbo Ultra Finish in ⅜” Nap
- Purdy Clearcut Paintbrush
- 1” Foam Insulation Board (what we cut our plywood on)
Tools + Jigs We Used:
Note: you do not need all of these tools and jigs to build something like this. We’ve accumulated a lot of little things over the years that make things easier, but many are not required.
- Rockler Drawer Front Clamps
- Kreg Hardware Installation Jig
- Wallpaper Installation Kit
- Glue Roller
- Kreg Accu-Cut Cutting Guide
- Kreg Rip-Cut Guide
- Random Orbital Sander
- Miter Saw
- Circular Saw
- Kreg 720 Pocket Hole Jig (we used this one, but any pocket hole jig will work)
- Dewalt Brad Nailer
- Easy Read Tape Measure
- Laser Measuring Tape
- Stud Finder with Laser
- Irwin Quick Grip Clamps
- WorkTunes Headphones
- Safety Glasses
If I missed any links, let me know in the comments below! And if you’d like a little more DIY inspiration for your half bath, check out these other powder room and bathroom projects we’ve tackled in the past: